Archanes is so close to Heraklion in time and in distance, so much a pleasure too. You pass through Kato Archanes and climb a short distance to the main (Epano) Archanes village.
The large village (and a large agricultural centre as well) has little in the way of places to stay, but has been restored and beautified with European Union funds, as well as private initiative. A truly remarkable job has been done here, the place looks great and, at the same time, retains as much atmosphere and as many original features as possible; it is a model for such projects in our opinion.
Archanes has won awards - 2nd best restored village in Europe and 1st in long term development prospects. Streets have been newly stone-paved, there are more splendid displays of blooming flowers, fruit trees and plants in the yards, terraces and balconies of the houses - a walk around the back streets is a pleasure as a result.
How to get there
By car, the route to take is past Knossos, a few kilometres further a sign-posted right turn to Archanes and in about 5 km you are there.
What to see & do
There are four archaeological sites - one in the village (a fenced excavation) and three close by, at Anemospilia and Fourni (on the edge of the village - a Minoan graveyard). Vathypetro on the way to Houdetsi is worthwhile not only for the finds, but also some for the most magnificent views of Crete which you can enjoy from the site - a unique vantage point.
A lot of very significant finds of the Minoan era came from the broader Archanes area. Therefore, Archanes has an excellent Archaeological Museum which displays all these finds from the town and the sites surrounding it. It is worth visiting it.
Archanes with its superb nature is part of the E4 hiking path (it goes through Archanes). Using as a starting point the village’s central square and going west, you will meet the path, which leads to the summit of the mountain Yiouhtas.
The course is impressive, especially in the springtime. The summit, where the chapel of “Afentis Christos” lies, offers a breathtaking view of the landscape, but also on the west to Psiloritis and east to Dikti mountains. The chapel of “Afentis Christos” celebrates on 6th of August and during these days there is a festival at the village.
Do remember to taste the Archanes wines, produced from the vineyards you see all around the village. They are famous - for good reason.